THE 150-day nationwide gun ban started past midnight yesterday with Philippine National Police chief Director General Oscar D. Albayalde ordering all 17 police regional offices to strictly implement the Comelec prohibition on the unauthorized carrying of firearms and other deadly weapons in public to ensure the holding of safe, orderly and fair May 13 national and local elections.
The PNP has been deputized to implement the ban on carrying or transporting firearms or other deadly weapons and the employment or engagement of the services of security personnel or bodyguards during the polling period which will start today and end on June 12.
Section 261 (q) of the Omnibus Election Code under Batas Pambansa 881 as amended prohibits the carrying of firearms outside residence or place of business without any Comelec exemption during the election period.
The law says that it is against the law for any person, who although possessing a Permit-to-Carry-Firearms-Outside-of-Residence or place of business or PTCFOR to carry such firearm unless authorized in writing by the Commission.
It also says that a motor vehicle, water or air craft shall not be considered a residence or place of business or extension thereof.
The gun ban however shall not apply to cashiers and disbursing officers while in the performance of their duties or to persons who by nature of their official duties, profession, business or occupation habitually carry large sums of money or valuables.
As provided by law, “only regular members of the Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and other law enforcement agencies of the Government who are duly deputized in writing by the Commission for election duty may be authorized to carry and possess firearms during the election period; provided, That, when in the possession of firearms, the deputized law enforcement officer must be: (a) in full uniform showing clearly and legibly his name, rank and serial number, which shall remain visible at all times, and (b) in the actual performance of his election duty in the specific area designated by the Commission.”
Yesterday, Gen. Albayalde ordered the establishment of checkpoints in strategic locations across the country to intercept guns, explosives and other weapons likewise illegal security personnel that may mar peaceful midterm elections in May.
Through PNP Deputy Chief for Operations Deputy Director General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa, Gen. Albayalde ordered all 17 Police Regional Directors to launch simultaneous checkpoint operations for the 2019 midterm elections pursuant to Comelec Resolution No. 10468.
National Capital Region Police Office chief Director Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar is leading the inspection of all NCRPO checkpoints in Metro Manila.
The PNP memorandum directed Regional Directors to establish at least one checkpoint in each of the country’s 1,600 cities and municipalities in coordination with the local Comelec Officer and Armed Forces’ territorial unit in the area.
The memorandum also specifically instructed the Regional Directors to personally lead the kick-off of checkpoint operations simultaneously nationwide at 12:01 a.m. yesterday.
Coinciding with the simultaneous launch of election checkpoint operations is the activation of Regional and Provincial Election Monitoring and Action Centers that will keep tabs on all activities and significant accomplishments relative to the 2019 Midterm Elections.